Advice from an Archbishop

I’m reading Desmond Tutu’s God Has A Dream, and while his writing is always pertinent, the book and the chapter I happened to read today were so apposite as to be ironic. I have to say, I laughed out loud when I opened it up.

Anyway, here are some gems of wisdom. Enjoy:

In God’s universe, while we are not free to choose whether we suffer, we are free to choose whether it will ennoble us or embitter us. (72)

You have very little control over your feelings. That’s why God didn’t say, “Like your enemy.” It’s very difficult to like your enemy. But to love your enemies is different. Love is an act of the will, where you act lovingly even if you do not always feel loving. We tend to think love is a feeling, but it is not. Love is an action; love is something we do for others. … Our freedom is based on our ability to rise above our feelings and to act based on our will. (78)

Sometimes the best you can do is to say to God or to yourself, I want to love. Sometimes the best you can do is to say, I want to want to love. But when you do, you are much more likely to act in a loving and compassionate way, regardless of what you are feeling. Certainly it is wonderful when our feelings prompt us to act lovingly, but it is not realistic to expect that we will always want to do what we must do. (78-79)

The extraordinary thing is that when you act lovingly you can begin to feel love. … If you act for long enough in a particular way, you begin to feel the feelings that accompany the actions. We don’t always feel like we are all God’s children. (79)

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